Chamber Continues Advocacy With Statehouse Visit

Terre Haute, IN – More than a dozen members of The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce traveled to Indianapolis on Wednesday; one of the many visits to the Indiana Statehouse already in 2018. Part of the day’s mission was to meet with both local and state legislators to continue the conversation about the proposed Food and Beverage Tax (SB 35) and the overall theme of advancing Terre Haute and the entire West Central Indiana region.

“I think it’s really productive,” says Rachel Leslie, local lobbyist and partner at RJL Solutions. “It’s fast paced because they are in the middle of session so their time is tugged in many different directions and many priorities shoved at them in a short amount of time, so although we have short amounts are time with each person in leadership it gives us the opportunity to say, ‘we are important in this moment and this is why and this is what we are trying to accomplish’. We have seen here today that other people are here and trying to accomplish the very same thing, so if we aren’t here doing this, we are going to be left behind.”

Far from being left behind, the team from Terre Haute made a large impact during their time in Indianapolis, sitting down with Governor Eric Holcomb. Main topics included the Vigo County Food $ Beverage Tax, the newly formed Defense Development committee under the Chamber and the initiative West Central 2025 Initiative.

Additional meetings included Mary Jane Michalak, Vice President of Government Affairs, Ivy Tech Community College, President Pro Tem Senator David Long, Representative Todd Huston (Member of House Ways and Means), Senator Travis Holdman and Tyler Campbell, Chief of Staff for the Speaker of the House. The group also sat down for lunch with Terre Haute Representatives Bob Heaton, Alan Morrison and Senator Jon Ford.

“The Statehouse visit afforded us the opportunity to sit down with these state leaders and speak one-on-one with them about what’s happening in Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley,” says Chamber Advocacy Chair Sara Smith, Vice President at Sycamore Engineering. “The more we talk, the stronger we build our relationships, and the better ability we have to effect change in our own community.”

Joining Smith on the visit was Chamber President David Haynes, Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett, Chamber Vice President Kristin Craig, Launch Terre Haute Director Shelley Klingerman, Tribune Star Advertising Director Erin Powell, Coldwell Banker Troy Helman Realtors Vice President Bernice Helman, Hans Eilbracht from Hamilton Center, Greg Goode representing Indiana State University, Marla Flowers, Director of Operations for Hulman & Co., retired Girl Scouts of the Wabash Valley Director Becky Buse, Jenn Kersey and Betsy Peperak of RJL Solutions and Katie Shane from the Terre Haute Chamber.

“We are proud of the work being done in terms of Advocacy and we believe there’s a lot more than can be done,” Chamber President David Haynes says. “This isn’t going to be accomplished overnight, but we’re making real progress.”